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Atomic Attack

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Atomic Attack

Published 1950
Topics FedFlix,

National Archives and Records Administration

Atomic Attack
NTIS AVA09891VNB1, 1950

In this sobering film, a family living 50 miles outside of New York must escape the fallout from a nuclear bomb dropped upon the Big Apple.

Features Walter Matthau.

Run time 45' 55"
Producer National Archives and Records Administration
Audio/Visual sound, color


Uploaded by Public.Resource.Org under a joint venture with NTIS.


Reviewer: PDGazette2 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 21, 2016
Subject: Compelling drama sixty years later.
18 May, 1953 episode of Motorola Theater,
Atomic Attack

Cast and crew:
Phyllis Thaxter Gladys Mitchell
Robert Keith Dr. Garson Lee
Walter Matthau Dr. Spinelli
Patricia Bruder Barbara Mitchell (as Patsy Bruder)
Patty McCormack Ginny Mitchell
Audrey Christie Mrs. Moore
William Kemp Jim Turner (as Bill Kemp)
Elizabeth Ross Mrs. Harvey
Daniel Reed Mr. Flood
Virginia Gerry Nancy
Directed by Ralph Nelson
Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)
David Davidson ... (teleplay)
Judith Merril ... (novel "Shadow on the Hearth")
Produced by Herbert Brodkin
Music by Ralph Norman
Other crew
Philip Barry Jr. ... assistant to producer

One of the more underrated leading ladies of her day, Thaxter's the whole show here as anguished suburban mom & wife dealing with the after effects of a nuking of NYC, 50 miles away. Able support by a young McCormack (later Oscar nominee as The Bad Seed) and old pro Robert Keith. Christie, hamming it up as the hysterical 'guest', went on to play snotty Mrs. Upson in Mame (1974).
Reviewer: mrtyro - - February 1, 2011
Subject: Date Correction
IMDB indicates that this film is from 1954.
The Motorola TV Hour on ABC did not run in 1950 -- it ran in 1953-54.
This is episode 15 in season 2, airing on 18 May 1953.
Reviewer: OrionPozo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 2, 2010
Subject: Early Look at Nuclear War and Walter Matthau in an early role
This show was sponsored by Motorola for ABC in 1950 when less than 20% of American households had TVs. As an early TV show it was more of a play than a movie, all taking place in one suburban home in the days following an H-Bomb attack. The 1st actual H-Bomb wasn't tested until 1952, and Russian didn't test one until 1953, so this qualifies the show as SciFi. The play was based on the SciFi novel Shadow on the Hearth by Judith Merril published in 1950. While simplistic in its treatment, it does provide a glimpse into public thinking about nuclear war and television production values of the time. Look for Walter Matthau who may be making his acting debut as the doctor.
Reviewer: jayessell - - April 23, 2010
Subject: See also: Medic / Flash of Darkness
If you're looking for TV episodes dealing
with Atomic War, check out...

Medic / Flash of Darkness

Civil Defense Reserve doctors find out
that this time, it's not a test.
Reviewer: PL_Maven - favorite - March 16, 2010
Subject: Nuclear Family Survives Fallout
Daddy has left Westchester for his job in the city, but there's one small problem -- NYC was just nuked! But it's OK, we have an AM radio tuned to Conelrad. The power is still on? No, it just went out, and we have another AM radio with batteries. Wait, who's that ringing the working doorbell? It's the Civil Defense Block Captain, here to provide spiritual comfort and dispense critical information on Fallout, such as don't let Muffy take her teddy bear outside in the rain right after an H-bomb attack.
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